December 24, 2008
" I feel the wind and I taste the rain"
For many of us at the time we had been here before, Jerry rebounding from a serious health crisis. This tour in comparison may not have been as much of a joyful public celebration as the spring of 1987 was, but it was a turn around the corner we all hoped we made for the last time. Albany had become "the" place to see the Dead in the northeast and the demand on GDTS was fierce. We barely got in this night but GDTS came through, as they always did, and we were in the last rows below the ceiling;opposite the stage.This night many of us were screaming for Healy to crank it up during the 1st set, it needed it. The Band burst right out of the gate and was back with a vengenece, Bucket is searing! We all heard about the previous nights in Chapel Hill and this night was surely just a continuation of that run. Bertha is played with a passion and drive and Jerry's solo is really good, he was glad to be back and the crowd roared it acknowledgement. The first set is really good with the band totally on. Bobby is really on this night and is strong in the mix, although his vocals are scratchy at times.Reguardless he gives it his all,he did have vocal nodes removed later that year. Phil is really heavy into it also and his playing is inspired.It was clear Vinny had found his groove too, so what more could you ask for? It was all happening We get great readings of all the songs. Peggy-O is delicate and sweet, Queen Jane is off the track and then we get Broken Arrow, which was one of my favorite songs Phil sang. Loose Lucy was tight and ranchy, a majestic Cassidy and then.. Casey Jones! It is a solid fun version,not as out of control as a 70's version but we all were blown away and it would become the last one they would play. Jerry was back big time! Eyes is a beautiful version with Bobby and Phil fully partiscipating with Jerry and making this version quite good. Estimated is glorious with the build up to the bridge excellent and they play it out nicely and then a gentle transition into Comes a Time, a beautiful version with Jerry delivering a passionate, screeching solo which makes this easliy one of the best of the five they played in the 90's. Corrina was still very new but this version is very strong and has a developed jam at the end. Drums are quite good and the space is not bad leading to a quick Wheel that thrusts to stellar Watchtower. This version may have been one of the last great ones, fast and furious. I think if you asked anyone back in the day what impression Days Between had on them the first time they saw it this year, it would be blown away! This version is manificent with Jerry conveying the regret and passage of youth through the lyrics,clearly Hunter's last great song with Jerry, and incredible playing. He owned this song and like Black Muddy River was back in'87, Days was Jerry's new anthem. Saturday rocked out hard and the last suprise was IFTL. This version, the second one ever, is fast and intense and seeing Vince shoot his "six shooter" at Jerry was hilarious. Jerry beamed back and we all rejoyced. Sound quality is very good too. Charlie strikes again :)